MasterLube’s Purpose Statement
MasterLube exists to make life better for people.
MasterLube is striving to be globally recognized for creating an ideal workplace that empowers people to be as good as they already want to be, and influence other businesses to do the same.
At MasterLube we make decisions based on these principles:
At MasterLube, we act with the understanding that someone or something is important to you.
At MasterLube, we treat everyone equally, making decisions on which we can stand on either side.
At MasterLube, we do business honestly, holding ourselves to the highest ethical standard, even when no one is watching.
At MasterLube, we allow ourselves to be held responsible for our actions and meeting our commitments.
At MasterLube, we believe that the desire for personal growth is inherent in everyone, and we help them discover and develop this desire.
At MasterLube, we recognize our interdependence as employers and employees, believing in and supporting one another.
At MasterLube, we give everyone time to learn and grow – even fail – at their own pace.
Dr. James Sample, President of the University of Southern California, and author of "The Contrarians View of Leadership", suggests that every business and institution should have a "three-minute creation story" to explain to participants and customers and our communities how and why we came about.
For MasterLube, that story begins quietly in February, 1981, with Bill Simmons' desperate need for employment. He had not had a job for three years, and there was a wife and children and a mortgage; so steady employment was desirable.
There was a converted gas station on 24th Street called Minit Lube, owned by six successful Billings business people that was eating their lunch - it had never made a profit, and they were ready to be shed of it.
So Bill made them an offer they could not refuse - he would run it for a year, and if he could make it work, he would assume their debt. If not, they would get the keys back. And as they say - "The rest is history."
But it was not really that simple; life rarely is.
Simmons, you see, was not very mechanical; he had changed the oil in his own car only once and had made a terrible mess. He had never owned a pair of Levis, or any other kind of work pants. He had been the sales manager of a radio station.
Undaunted by the obvious, Bill's "luber" life began in earnest as he learned to "do hoods", and eventually graduated to the pit. And he became very good. Or at least pretty good. He could get the job done but it was clear he was never going to be a "Master Pit Man".
Something much more interesting took place. Quite early he discovered that the young people who came to MasterLube to work could be very, very good. They were not always that good, but when they wanted to be, they could deliver extraordinary service and elevate to very high levels of excellence.
In those days the going wages were $4.50 to $5.00 an hour, so that was certainly no reason to excel. And yet at one time or another everyone did. So Simmons found himself sitting in a corner, staring at the wall, and wondering what he might offer people that would justify him asking for their full, committed participation.
The answer began to become visible as the staff sat in the back room after work each day - some times with a cold beverage - talking about their dreams and ambitions. It began to become clear that everyone had a dream; sometimes it was right there, ready to be verbalized; other times it was deeper, and required more time to come out. But there was always a dream.
One thing had become obvious. He was asking people to operate at a $25 per hour level for a $5 per hour pay check. So he was in their debt immediately, and the tab was running.
So one day Simmons went to the staff - there were only five people, counting him - and offered them a deal. He said that if they would do every thing that he asked of them, work as hard as he asked, at a wage he could afford to pay, that in return, he would do everything in his power to help them make their dream come true.
The response was near magic. People rose to a level of excellence not considered possible in a lube center. All of a sudden customers were being served by young men and women on their way to becoming teachers, and accountants, and loving spouses and parents. Customers loved it!
In a few years MasterLube added the store Downtown, and a few years later, the store in the Heights.
And MasterLube began to gain renown. The store on 24th Street became, unofficially, "the highest volume two-bay lube center in the World". Experts from the major oil companies and from cutting edge lube companies came to Billings to see our stores work. In less than ten years MasterLube was named "The National Operator of the Year".
But the experts did not understand; they did not "get it". Over and over they would say "If we had your people we could be great, too!" They did not understand that our people were regular people just turned loose. They did not believe it when it was explained to them, and so would not even try.
So we have gone on having our fun. There have been Presidential awards, industry accolades, and lots and lots of customer "atta boys". (We never get tired of those!). There are MasterLube alumni with PhD's and CPA's; some are teachers, counselors, bank tellers, and even one lube center operator. There are alumni who have become extraordinary husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, and neighbors. And we could not be more proud.
MasterLube is now blessed with a team of young leaders who are committed to our 60 current employees and to the "Mission System" by which we serve them.
In our nearly 32 years we have had good times and bad; we have done well and done poorly. Today we have the finest Leadership Team in our history, so we see the future as bright, perhaps the brightest it has ever been.
Don't be surprised if over the next two or three years MasterLube grows to ninety extraordinary people, each on their way to realizing their own personal dream.